Eesti in brief - 2006-09-20

  • 2006-09-20
A toxic waste vessel dubbed the 'death ship' docked in the Port of Paldiski last week. The ship was held responsible for unloading toxic waste on the Ivory Coast in August, thereby triggering an environmental catastrophe. The incident has forced the Ivory Coast government to resign. The same ship tried to unload 450 tons of a similar cargo in Amsterdam, however the discharge was halted following complaints about the noxious smell and a disagreement over docking fees. After docking in Paldiski, the ship was inspected by Estonia's Maritime Administration, who did not detect any shortcomings. Inspectors said they were satisfied that the ship had not discharged waste and had enough storage space to travel further. The Estonian Maritime Administration said there were no known plans for the Probo Koala to unload waste in Estonia.

Police will erect a security fence around Tallinn's controversial Bronze Soldier monument following reports that a rally has been planned for the site. Sept. 22 marks the anniversary of Tallinn's invasion by Soviet forces. Police are concerned that the event will spark a rally at the site, which has been defaced several times by protesters. A speed restriction of 30 kilometers per hour will also be put in place around the Tonismagi area from Sept. 21-Sept. 23. Authorities remain undecided about the statue's future.

Around 200 British soldiers and a platoon of U.S. soldiers arrived in Estonia to take part in a 10-day joint training exercise with Estonian troops codenamed the 'Kalev Express.' The soldiers will prepare for joint exercises on international missions, with training in areas such as drills, conventional and unconventional threats, conventional warfare and anti-terrorist action. The British ambassador to Estonia, Nigel Haywood, said that joint training was vital for both the Estonian and the British military, especially in view of their cooperation in Afghanistan. Areas near Klooga, Paldiski, Haapsalu and Tapa will be used as training grounds during the coming days. A total of 650 soldiers will take part in 'Kalev Express.'

Several dozen cultural figures and scientists openly expressed support for presidential candidate Toomas Hendrik Ilves, calling on members of the Electoral College to elect the Social Democrat. "The presidential election has brought about a situation that is turning Estonia into a musty province, which in turn undermines Estonians' self-confidence and the country's reliability," the signatories said in a statement.